Ultimate Adventures

What to Pack for Kilimanjaro

Embarking on a trek up Mount Kilimanjaro requires careful planning and preparation, especially when it comes to packing. Ensuring you have the right gear, clothing, and personal items can make all the difference in your comfort and safety on the mountain. Here's a detailed packing list to help you prepare for your Kilimanjaro adventure:

Upper Body Layers


We recommend Merino wool or synthetic fabrics (NO COTTON) 2 short sleeve shirts and 2 long sleeve shirts.  Unlike cotton and synthetic materials, merino wool will not build up bacteria and therefore will not become as smelly as quickly! Because of this, with merino wool items, you can bring less with you.

Waterproof Jacket:  

You need a Gore-tex or similar waterproofing material in an outer wear jacket.  This should be light weight and will help protect you from rain/snow as well as help block the wind. Must have a hood. This is essential when walking through the rain forest.

Mid Layers:  

This is going to be your warm, insulating layer. This can range from Merino Wool 200+ weight, to fleeces, to light down or synthetic jackets.  You will need just one or two of these layers because they do not touch your body.

Outer Layer: 

Heavy down jacket.  You will wear this every night and morning and you will want to have a high quality goose down jacket.  This is an essential piece of your kit to keep you warm in the freezing temperatures. It should be noted that, in particular, more down is the key. The fill number is not as important.

Lower Body Layers


(light weight) good for hiking while at lower elevations.  Nylon or synthetic fabrics are best and you will only need one pair.

Trekking Pants: 

We recommend bringing one or two pairs of trekking pants that are a quick drying, synthetic material.  The type that can be zipped off into shorts can be helpful.

Fleece Pant:  

Every night when you arrive at camp, you will want to change your clothes from your trekking clothes.  We recommend a pair of warm fleece pants or a track suit pant.  You will only need one pair.

Waterproof Pant:  

You will need to have one pair of waterproof pants that can be worn over your trekking pant in case of rain/heavy snow.  These can be Gore-tex or similar waterproofing materials. This is essential when walking through the rain forest.

Base Layers

Merino Wool Base layers are recommended, however a synthetic material will work as well.  You will want one pair of warm bottoms to wear under your trekking pants on summit night.  We would also recommend one or two long sleeve Merino/synthetic tops. These will have ‘wicking’ properties to keep you warm when you are cold and cool when you are warm. We like to use Icebreaker or Smartwool Merino layers.

Hands and Feet

Hiking Boots:  

You will want to purchase these early and break them in (do not go on the trip with a never been worn pair of boots). Your boots need to be warm, waterproof, semi rigid, have good ankle support and be comfortable. This is an essential part of your gear and you should make sure you get the right pair.

Lightweight Shoes:  

You will want to take your boots off when you arrive in the camp each night.  We recommend a light trail running shoe or trainer.


We recommend either Merino Wool or a synthetic material (again not cotton) as they will help to keep your feet dry and comfortable.  Usually you will need 3 or 4 pairs of socks for the trek and then we recommend having one pair of liner socks as well as a thicker pair of summit socks for the long, cold summit night.


You will need one pair of warm, waterproof outer gloves plus one pair of smaller liner gloves.  The warmer gloves need to be a warm glove, similar to what you would wear to ski in.  These are essential to keep you warm in the freezing temperatures.  You will also want a thin liner glove to the less frigid temperatures or to wear inside your thick outer gloves for extreme temps.

Head and Neck

Sun Hat:  

The hat needs to have a brim all the way around it to cover your ears, neck and face from the strong rays of the sun.  You will definitely rely on this to keep you from burning and dehydrating, which could potentially ruin your trip.   Therefore, you will wear this most days on the trail.

Winter Hat:  

You will need a warm fleece or wool hat to keep you warm in the cold temperatures.  You will wear this every night/morning and throughout the summit night.

Buff/Neck Gaiter:  

This is an essential piece of gear to keep your neck warm as well as to cover your mouth and keep in the moisture high up.


You need a dark, wraparound pair of sunglasses.  Preferably category 3 or 4 to protect against harsh UV rays and ice-glare at higher altitudes.  It is recommended to have a spare pair as well.

Duffel Bag and Back Pack

Day Pack Backpack:  

Approximately a 35 liter pack, in order for you to carry each day with your daily items/personal documents/camera/money.  This MUST have a hip belt for support/weight loading and should have an inner frame for comfort on your back.

Backpack Splash Cover:  

In the case of heavy rains, this cover can go on your backpack to keep the contents of your pack dry.  You will carry all of your important items like camera/passport/money in your backpack, therefore, you will want to have this.  A lot of newer packs do come with the splash cover now.

Duffel Bag/Kit Bag for Porters:  

We recommend a duffel bag around 100 liters in size.  This will be carried by the porters and is not to exceed 15kg/33lbs.  Importantly, this will be a water resistant material.


Sleeping Bag:  

You will be camping throughout the trip, so you must bring your own sleeping bag.  We recommend that it is rated to -15°C (0°F).  You can also bring a liner sheet for your sleeping bag if you know that you run cold. Down is always better than synthetic.


This self-inflating mattress is a very important part of your kit for Kilimanjaro.  You will be sleeping in tents every night and you will need to make it as comfortable for you as you can so that you can get a good nights sleep each night.

Staying Protected


We recommend having a Factor 50 + to protect you from the extreme rays of the sun at high altitude.  Obviously, this should be re-applied throughout the day.

Lip Balm/Zinc Cream:  

This is essential to protect you against the fierce sun.

Hand Sanitizer: 

You will want to carry this with you at all times.

Hydration is Important

Water Bottles:  

We recommend having two Nalgene or similar bottles.  These are a thick plastic bottle that you can fill with boiling water at night to act as a hot water bottle and then drink when you wake in the morning.  You will not be able to do this with metal bottles.


This hands-free hydration system is essential to keep you drinking plenty of water on the trail.  We recommend a 2 liter bladder that you can fill each morning before hitting the trail so that you can easily sip water all day without having to stop walking.  You will not be able to use this on summit night, as it will freeze.  So you will just bring your Nalgene bottles with hot water in them for the summit.

Water Purification Tablets:  

Purification tablets to purify the water along the trail.  You will definitely have to treat any cold water that you drink on the trail.

Vitamins/Powdered Drink:  

Sometimes the water can get boring to drink, so we recommend bringing some vitamin C or multivitamin tablets/powders to add to your water.

Staying Clean


A small sports towel that is quick drying is recommended as we provide you with warm water for washing each day.

Baby Wipes: 

There is no option for showers on the trail, so we recommend always bringing a pack of Baby Wipes to keep yourself clean in the wilderness.

Hand Sanitizer:  

Focusing on hygiene on the trail is essential, therefore you will want to have this with you at all times!  This is essential to keep your hands clean on the trail.

Odds and Ends

Head Torch: 

Essential for mornings/evenings at camp as well as all night on your summit attempt.

Spare Batteries:  

This is for your head torch and your camera.  The cold weather tends to shorten the life of batteries. Therefore, a solar charger is an excellent solution to this problem.

Trail Munchies

We provide a lot of high quality food on Kilimanjaro. We have Fish, Avocado salad, fresh fruit. There will be three, three courses meals each day. Although there is plenty of high quality food on our trips, you can consider bringing a few of your favorites:  chocolates, nuts, sweets, etc. We always recommend to have a special treat like a chocolate bar or gummy energy chews to eat on your summit night attempt.  Obviously, you will need all the energy you can get and this can give you the extra push you may need!

Miscellaneous Items when Packing for Kilimanjaro


Trekking Poles:  

Adjustable poles are always ideal.   These will be helpful on the long way back down the mountain that also has some steps on the trail.


These are optional, however these can stop scree/mud/snow from getting into your boots.

Toilet Paper & Matches:  

This is for when you are on the trail and have to go to the bathroom.  You will either carefully burn the toilet paper or take a small plastic bag to dispose of toilet paper when you arrive at the camp.

Garbage Bag:  

This is a great way to wrap all your clothes/items inside your kit bag to protect it against rain. Likewise, you will need to have a bag for your trail shoes.

Small Mirror:  

Not essential, but some people are happy to have.


You may want to have a book or diary or cards to use at camp at night when you have down-time.


You will want to have plenty of memory cards/film and spare batteries.  Because there will be no option to charge on the trail.


It is best to have USD for tips at the end of the trek.  We recommend approximately $250 to $300 for tips.  You will also want to have some spare cash for any extras you may need when in Arusha like for food, drinks, or souvenirs.  Also note that you will need $50 to $100 for the visa entry into Tanzania.  The amount you bring will depend on how much you plan on buying/spending.  We usually recommend at least $200 spending money.

Personal Toiletries:  

Everything you need on a daily basis (contact lenses, glasses, toothbrush, toothpaste, feminine products, etc.).

Small Personal First Aid Kit

  • This is just a guide of what we recommend you to bring, likewise, you may have other personal items you need to add to your kit.
  • Diamox: 125mg in the morning and 125mg in the afternoon.
  • Inflammation:  Ibuprofen is best for altitude and helping with sleep.
  • Antibiotics:  Two courses as prescribed by your own GP.  One for chest and upper respiratory tract infections and one for abdominal, bowel infections.
  • Cough Lozenges.
  • Wound Dressing.  One should be sufficient.
  • Triangular Bandage.  One should be sufficient.
  • Melolin Dressings.  Four 10 cm by 10 cm
  • Band-aid/Plasters.  An assortment package of these.
  • Antiseptic Cream.  One small tube.
  • Diarrhoea Treatment.
  • Insect Repellent,  One small bottle of 50% DEET repellent.
  • Foot Powder,  important for keeping feet in good condition.
  • Anti-inflammatory Tablets, To bring down any inflammation.
  • Antihistamine Tablets.
  • Multi-vitamins.  Importantly, to keep your immune system strong and avoid sickness.

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